Stop Holiday Drama

December 22, 2009

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Content Rich Learning Points

  • Identify the familiar patterns of drama
  • Discern the three components common in all drama
  • Why clarity is key
  • How to know when you get off course
  • 7 useful tips to master your mindset
  • Communication techniques
  • Practical exercises to do before the holidays

What is Your Holiday DRAMA Question?

Do you have a “holiday drama” question? If so, just ask me your holiday drama question in this blog and I’ll do my best,  using the Stop Your Drama Methodology to give you some new insights and clarity.

Want to read the questions asked me during the seminar? Click here to download a 20 page Q and A document. I’m sure you’ll see yourself in at least one of these questions.

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5 Questions for Clarity

August 15, 2009

When you feel like you are swimming up stream, there are five questions that you can ask yourself to gain clarity. In asking the questions, meditate on each one in depth and you will be surprised at the insights.

1. Who am I?
2. What do I value?
3. What do I want?
4. What is required?
5. Am I willing to do what is required?


The Entrepreneurs Journey

June 3, 2009

I see an island and I want to go.

I’m excited.

I jump into a row-boat with one oar and no map.

The island is farther away than I expected.

I become discouraged.

I see a closer island so I row toward it.

I meet a consultant.

I pay almost all that I have to the consultant who convinces me I wanted to go to the wrong island.

The consultant sells me a map and a blueprint to go to his island.

I now need a motor and a better boat.

I get a loan and purchase the better boat and the motor and head to the consultant’s island.

The blue print is helpful, but I’m not that excited.

On the way I see a sparkling island and it looks much more appealing.

I motor towards it.

I have lost the map the consultant gave me.

The fog rolls in.

Now I’m confused about what I really want.

I’m mad at the consultant.

The motor is acting up.

I row to the closest island.

My needs are met.

There is coconut milk and a native there needs my services.

It’s better than nothing.

Time passes.

I am bored and know there must be more.

I still want my original island.

This time I’m smarter.

I take TWO oars and a map.

I’ll geet the motor fixed eventually.

I’m back in the gap.

(to be continued.)


Restaurant Drama? It’s Not About the Cook.

May 10, 2009

Apparently there are a lot of chefs and cooks out there who simply must get their way no matter how their temper tantrums create drama in the workplace and negatively impact customer service.

Apparently cooks and chefs “throwing a fit”  is a commonly accepted occurrence  in catering, fancy restaurants and even in family owned cafes.

Several years ago while visiting a new cafe,  I requested romaine lettuce instead of iceberg and the waitress said, “I would make the request but it would make the chef mad.”

Just last week I asked a catering company to switch a food item and the response by the person in charge was, “Chef will throw a fit.”

I just read a blog by Seth Godin where he says, and I quote, ” Don’t try to talk a vegan into eating the chicken-fried steak just because the chef will yell at you if you ask for one more plate of steamed vegetables.” (Now, mind you this wasn’t the main point of his blog,) but I can’t help but ask the question: When did restaurant service become more about the cook and less about the customer? Aren’t we missing the point?

Here’s are some leadership lessons that work for any business but especially for food service and restaurants.

1. Don’t make your cook’s personality flaws your customers problem. Even if it’s part of your “back stage” employees should NEVER gossip about the drama behind the curtain.

2. If your number one commitment is to keeping cook happy then you need to communicate the rules and set expectations with your customers in advance. (For example we do not substitute, or, we do not allow sharing portions.)

3. Relationship drama always hampers productivity. Understand that drama on the inside filters down to customer service and eventually to your bottom line.

4. Fire any employee or cook who creates drama, even if you think they are the top performer. Their negativity and pompous attitude will eventually ruin your business, no matter how good they are at sales, at production or at cooking a meal.

4. Train, Tain, Train your staff how to communicate and put on a good “show.”

For example, at the the last minute I had to change my menu because the cook was freaking out. (The good news is the food was actually better than what I had ordered, but the problem from a customers point of view is the way the issue was presented.) Instead of this being a surprise and a benefit, it was presented to me as if I had to adjust to keep the cook happy. Bad communication skills. Good training would have given the catering staff the tools to make me feel special and let me know what a good deal I’m getting.  Instead what I heard was excuses as to why I could not get what I wanted.

The first step in improving customer service is to clear the fog and get in alignment. You can’t go to the island called “exceptional customer service” when you are rowing to the island called keeping cook happy.  What is your mission? Why are you in business? What keeps you going?  Is your company dedicated to giving the customer what she wants or is there a bigger commitment to keeping the cook happy?


It’s Not About the Solution

April 26, 2009

No matter what your problem, it’s never really about the solution… at first. That’s why I won’t be disappointed with you when you don’t take my advice, or when you do take my advice and it doesn’t work for you.

Haven’t you ever wondered why there are so many people who keep paying for coaching, going to workshops, seeking answers only to be stranded on the same island they started on?

When someone offers up a solution to you and it doesn’t work, it’s not because the solution isn’t a good one, it’s because on some level you are not clear that you agree. Or you are not clear that you really want the solutions say you want.

(I know because I’ve bought many template or blueprint programs only to become disinterested once the purchase was made.)

I see many consultants and coaches getting stressed because they don’t understand that it isn’t really about their solution. It is not really about convincing the client to actually implement advice they paid for.

It’s easy to make the assumption that just because someone paid for our advice there is no resistance. You make their resistance worse if you get too attached to them taking your advice. It becomes YOUR goal instead of THEIR goal.

When you get attached to someone else’s outcome, it’s only because you have a judgment about what they SHOULD be doing because your own ego is attached.

If there’s resistance on the part of the client, that resistance needs to be drilled down until you find willingness.

In part 7 of my Stop Your Drama Methodology I call willingness “The Fulcrum Point of Change.” Until there is willingness, nothing else happens, even if you give them the blueprint and weekly consulting.

Let’s face it, if it was all about the “how to” all the world’s problems could be solved at the public library and an accountability partner. Look at all the books out there on making money, finding love, building a business and losing weight.

The “how to” is already in place. What is not in place is clarity. When you get clear about who you are and what you want, you will get it.

If you are not clear about who you are and what you want you will learn through contrast. Another name for contrast is “pain.” You will discover that which you don’t want and then from that place you will eventually find your clarity.

The clarity may be to move forward and take the consultant’s advice. The clarity may be to reject the advice and move in a different direction.

The good news is clarity always comes.


Clutter is Not the Problem

March 28, 2009

I used to think clutter was the problem. Now I know clutter is just the manifestation or the “result” of other things

  1. Going too fast
  2. Lack of planning
  3. Belief that you are not enough
  4. Belief in scarcity
  5. Not telling yourself the truth
  6. Not having (or sticking to) a system

Let’s take each one and give a little break down.

Going too fast
When you don’t take time for space, every waking moment is used producing. Without adequate down time you will start to stack and pile. Eventually the piles produce chaos and then you spend time recreating the wheel because you can’t find the original wheel you created three weeks ago.

Lack of planning
Without an end-game in mind, you simply react to either drama or opportunity. Either way you shoot from the hip and make snap decisions. It may be fun but it is sure messy.

Belief you are not enough
I see entrepreneurs do this one all the time. Just one more website. One more article. One more pod cast. Let me do a radio show to get PR. When is it enough? Never…if you don’t honor yourself.  The “I am not enough” syndrome shows up as overwork, too much content, and overwhelming yourself and others with too much, too often.

Belief in scarcity
When you believe there’s not enough to go around you start hoarding.  You keep stacks of ideas which will one day turn into an article. You collect things that one day you may have to sell when the going gets tough. You never get rid of old clothes even when they don’t fit. There are tubes of empty lipstick, empty toothpaste tubes and half used cans of deodorant…just in case you run out you know you have a little you can still squeeze out.

Not telling yourself the truth
You tell yourself little fibs so you can justify your clutter. “I’ll eventually use those articles.” Those old Power Point slides may come in handy one day.   I may want to recycle those 50 web pages that I no longer use.  Yes…and you may one day decide to wear those platform shoes and hip-hugging bell bottoms even though you are 15 pounds heavier and 15 years older, so by all means…keep them.

No system
Most of the time the real reason is we don’t know how to channel the creativity. This calls for real systems, and a way to integrate everything.  Yes, you really can write 12 articles, turn them into a book, then use them as pod casts, then give to others to use on their blogs.  A really good system can help you clean the clutter very quickly.

So now you know, clutter is never the real drama. All that happens when you clear the clutter is just more clutter later on…that is, until you learn how to slow down, plan, believe in yourself and in abundance, tell yourself the truth and create a system you can stick to.